If you had asked me a few years ago if I saw myself teaching children yoga in my future, you would have received a resounding “No!” in response. In fact, if you had told me I’d be a yoga teacher, in general, you probably would have been laughed off. Becoming a yoga teacher was definitely a step off the path I had seen myself travelling on. Teaching children, in particular, is more like a LEAP off that path.
It’s not that I don’t like kids, but up until the last year or so, I’ve just never had much to do with them. Our immediate family doesn’t include youngins just yet, nor do my friends have children. In case you haven’t realised, I don’t have any of the not-furry kind either. Children were a complete mystery to me, my brother is only 18 months younger than I and we only have one older cousin, so I didn’t grow up with younger siblings or family members. Like I said, a total mystery.
In my teacher training at Essence of Living, we spent a day learning the kids’ yoga ropes with the amazing Natalie. Who taught us all she knew whilst simultaneously looking after her still breastfed daughter. Yep, she is superwoman. Natalie taught us the basics of a class structure and also delved into lots of fun yoga-fied games and activities we could play with our mini yogis. We then went on to present a kids’ yoga class to a fellow teacher trainee – yes, this was hilarious and good fun all round!
To be perfectly honest, I thought that was it for me and kids’ yoga. Cut to a few months later and I was asked to cover a kids yoga class with only a couple of hours notice. No time to overthink it. No time to back out. It was happening.
I made a mad dash to the shops for props, I got a ball, some feathers and a few bottles of bubbles (thanks Natalie for the ideas!). I loved that I had these props to lean on in my first class, plus kids love toys unsurprisingly. Class went well and eventually I took this kids yoga class over permanently.
So why do I love to teach kids yoga?
It’s pretty simple, they remind me that yoga is supposed to be FUN. We can take yoga wayyy too seriously and these little yogis remind that, at the heart of it, we’re supposed to be enjoying ourselves.
They also do a great job of reminding me to take risks, not be afraid of falling or making a fool of myself and to give things a try just for the hell of it.
While I know these kids are teaching me lessons, they get so much from class too. They’re not just learning the physical postures (asanas), I’m also teaching them yogic philosophy and how to be more mindful and connected with their bodies and minds. At the end of each class, I ask each of my students to set an intention for the weekend (class is on a Friday afternoon). Their responses get better every week:
“I want to feel happy because my Dad is coming back from work.”
“I want to feel excited because I’m having a sleepover”
“I want to feel helpful because I’m going to camp”
and one of my favourites… “I want to behave for my mother”.
If you have children, I urge you to get them to a local kids yoga class. It’s a beautiful practice for them to be introduced to and it keeps them fit, flexible and having fun!
On the Gold Coast? I teach kids’ yoga every Friday afternoon at 3:30 pm at Paradise Point Park – I’d love to see you and your children there.
P.S. The kids I teach absolutely adore getting their acro yoga exploits on camera, but in the interests of privacy I’ve chosen shots to share where their identities aren’t revealed 🙂